Writing without technology as an adult is harder than it looks 👇🏼
Putting pen to paper.
Oh crap, I forgot how to spell!
When did my writing get so squiggly?
Is that mine?
Does happen have one or two p’s?
Is of course one or two words?
I hear the words in my brain – but they’re too complicated to spell .
Instead, I use simpler words, ones I can spell without autocorrect.
My right arm shakes – and fingers twitch with an unfamiliar familiarity.
Are autocorrect and smart suggestions ruining literature?
The robotic nature of typing and sending messages online are unnatural.
We are murdering originality.
It is not only literature that is dying.
Think about it, when you send a WhatsApp message, your phone automatically displays a suggested word.
Do we really talk like that?
How are we supposed to tell the difference between me, you, Felicia, or Phill?
Is writing by hand only for kids? No.
To begin, I understand if you have the assumption that writing by hand is only for kids. They need to learn it to write and blablabla.
This post is not for kids. It is for the adults in the room. Are you always forgetful? Can’t remember something you really need to for a work presentation. Maybe, the password to your credit card. Going back the basics helps. Re-write each word by hand over-and-over again. Then, *tada* your word is memorized.
Writing by hand can help us: memorize things, give us emotional relief (when journaling), and get us out of a writer’s block. But first, let me tell you about how hard (and embarrassing) it was to write for the first time in years again 👇🏼.
Writing on paper: No more easy breezy words
Exactly yesterday I decided to write again by hand, on an actual paper. A pen was my guide. Yet, it felt so foreign. How is it possible that I do not know how to spell?
For some reason I was especially stuck on the word schedule. My brain is convinced that it is spelled as
scheduele . Easy breezy words I knew when I was young are so foreign to me.
Actual sweat was dripping down my forehead. As Eminem once said,
My palms were sweaty.Eminem
How do kids do this every day? I am on the one hand impressed and on the other hand, feeling extra dumb. This got me thinking, how I use complicated words in my research that I cannot spell.
Spell check, thesauruses, and key word suggestions have pushed us to be more robotic. I cannot help but wonder how different our writing would be without the whispers in the back of our heads by technology? All the creativity yet to be discovered.
When I was younger, I was a better writer regarding my spelling skills and writer’s voice. Maybe, it was the paper helping me out, channeling the inspiration of all those that came before me.
3 surprising benefits of writing by hand
- Memory. Writing by hand lets you memorize things quickly. You memorize words quicker writing on a pen and paper vs. typing. Reading repeatedly on a screen does not do the trick. Your eyes get blurry, and your brain processes the information slower.
- Emotional relief- Journaling on paper, lets you stay alone with your emotions (and self). There are no distractions from outside influences. Letting you let out what you need to let out.
- Focus. Pick me. You document ideas, and work call out to you letting you focus, and pick it. In that moment it is just you and the paper. This is especially helpful if you are going through a writer’s block. Or if you have job proposal to submit with no ideas. Just sitting there with your thoughts and ideas might help. Without the distractions of WhatsAPP web, Email subscriptions, social media, and notifications. Indeed, the only notification on paper, is the scratch of your pen.
How spell-check is ruining writing *opinion*
You heard me right. Spell-check and editors are ruining writing. I still use them though. It is easy and convenient to copy/paste a document and use the magic technology to underline the correct word. However, there is something missing.
Many times, I type in a word into spell-check that exists- but it does not read it as an actual term. This usually happens with technical terms specific to a field.
A program appeals to the masses. It uses words only the majority of people understand. It does not mean if you are using a word that is not on spell-check, it is wrong.
This is hindering the creation of new words and reinforcing the continued usage of trends.
If Shakespeare was put on a spell-check, a readability analysis, and many more of our modern techniques, his writing will turn up all red and green with so-called grammar mistakes.
If he existed today, and listened to these suggestions, we would not have the masterpiece of Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth.
In this vein, if your document is perfect in the editor, you are doing something wrong. Most times, the document checker misses grammar mistakes. Or provides the wrong suggestions, that do not make sense.
Should we stop using the editor?
Realistically, no we should not stop using the editor. It is honestly so helpful. In fact, I copy/paste all my blogs in the outlook editor for a quick edit. It helps me spot mistakes quickly. Nonetheless, we need to follow our own intuition. Do not rely fully on these programs.
If there is a stylistic reason for your grammar mistake, let it live in its place, in all its glory.
Furthermore, if the editor says something sounds wrong, or suggests a word that sounds funny to you, use your own judgment. Follow your instinct.
Likely, you are already in your own field. You know the terminologies. Do not be afraid to ignore the corrections.
How writing by hand vs. electronics is different (to your brain)?
Moreover, writing by hand is a unimanual process, using only one hand. Whereas, typing on a keyboard or phone is bimanual, meaning we use both our hands.
To our brain, this writing is processed differently. Why does it matter? Writing by paper helps our letter memorization- letting it be computed quicker.
Therefore, going back to paper can help you get over your writer’s block. To your brain, the process is different- so maybe it will let you discover a new perspective.
In terms of timesaving, if you are trying to memorize something writing by hand will actually save you time. Since, what you write you will retain or remember better. However, in terms of typing, you can write quicker on a computer.
If your goal is to meet a quick deadline writing on a laptop is obviously quicker.
However, if you are on the look-out to write a quality piece and time is more flexible. Then, writing it first on paper can be helpful.
I am more authentic on pen and paper
Dumb it down for people. Really. I always got asked what does that word mean? Sometimes, even when I am talking.
I never realized it until my father who is successful- and more knowledgeable about migration, did not know a term I was using.
He basically told me my whole paper was bullshit- in a nicer way though. I have to say I agree with him. If someone in the field can’t understand something – then it is too precise.
On pen and paper, I avoid the use of buzz words, and trendy terms. Maybe, my writing is less marketable. However, it is more fresh, original, and authentic.
Don’t waste your time: When NOT to use a hand-written method
Look, if you are running late on a deadline, it is not the time to test out your writing skills and handwriting. Similarly, writing a research paper by hand is simply unfeasible. While it might be doable, it takes way more time for no reason.
I remember being in middle school, taking the time to go to the library, pick a book, then cite it by hand manually. It took too much time for no reason.
I am not the type of person that believes we should do things the harder way. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, I try to find the easiest method, that uses the least amount of effort. Writing by paper, is only quicker and better when you are trying to memorize something.
All in all, my main reason to go back to writing by hand is to avoid writer’s block and my brain’s regression. Every year that passes I feel dumber. If I am completely honest, I did not expect my handwriting to be so bad. This post is the result of a bit of curiosity, meets shame, and embarrassment.
If like me your handwriting needs a lot more work. Check out this free handwriting exercise book for adults. I like how they explain each process step-by-step. I know I need a lot of the exercises 😅.
If you are interested in writing tips, check out the writing tips page.
When was the last time you wrote by hand?